5 Components of Healthy Eating: Choose REAL/WHOLE Foods.

I thought long and hard about what topic I wanted to use as my fifth post in this series and after careful consideration I decided to end with my ultimate rule for healthy eating: consuming REAL, WHOLE foods.

Striving to keep my kitchen stocked with REAL ingredients and WHOLE foods is not as complicated as some people make it out to be. My number one goal after leaving the grocery store is not only to stay within budget, but that the foods I’m purchasing were made with foods grown from God’s green earth.

At this point, perhaps you are thinking, “now THAT is impossible. How can I avoid all those other foods?” How about we start with learning how to read an ingredients label. It’s quite simple really; if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, then don’t buy it. For example, last night Brandon was checking out dressings at the grocery store. He picked up a ranch dressing and started reading the ingredients (he’s definitely learning so well). As he began struggling to read some of the ingredients among the list, he realized that he should put it back. GOOD JOB LOVE! Not so hard is it?

Healthy eating can be EASY and FUN (if it wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t be as consistent as I am)! As you know, I don’t follow “food rules,” but if there were to be one “rule” that I try my best to live by, it IS keeping it REAL.

In my opinion, REAL foods are SO much tastier than something you find in the freezer section or at the drive thru. When was the last time you tried your Grandmother’s apple pie and said, “gosh Grandma, that frozen pie tastes so much better than what you have just made from scratch,” (well, unless your Grandma can’t cook, but you get the idea).

You would be amazed at how many dishes you can make with REAL ingredients and WHOLE foods! Most of my recipes are dishes I grew up eating! The only difference? I made a few substitutions to not only add REAL ingredients but also enhance the nutritional profile; whole wheat to replace white flour or noodles, adding fruit or extra vegetables to dishes, or utilizing herbs and spices to enhance flavor (hello turmeric!). Make sense?

So many choices! If you don't understand the ingredients then why I you putting that in your body?

After this week, I want you to feel empowered to make smart choices when you are at the grocery store and to utilize those cookbooks lying around your house (or check out MY recipes!!). A lot of recipes I feature are slightly healthier versions of some of your favorite meals!! Once you try a few, you’ll begin to realize how easy it is to make a normally unhealthy dish in to one that is heart healthy and disease preventing!


I hope I have inspired you with new ideas for healthy eating this week. I am leaving you with a recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies that I discovered at My Baking Addiction. Since I have basically given up at low-fat baking (that is one area that I just cannot find success), these are the real deal. The nutritional profile is not exactly desirable, but what IS healthier about these cookies??  I made them myself, therefore I know exactly what is in them and THAT my friends is a wise choice!

ps. Soft, moist, cinnamon-pumpkin amazing-ness. Seriously, dynamite! My co-workers literally went bonkers (could be the cookies or the fact that it is FRIDAY!)

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Makes ~4 dozen

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Old Fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (processed yes, but how many chips are really in each cookie? Moderation is okay!)
  • 1 cup dried cherries (roughly chopped)

Preheat 350 degrees.

Combine flour through salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture gradually until incorporated. Stir in chips and cherries.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls into mouth on baking sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet ~2 minutes. Cool on wire racks!

My one year anniversary is THIS Sunday! 10/10/10! I have a special post in store so I hope you will all check in!!


18 comments to 5 Components of Healthy Eating: Choose REAL/WHOLE Foods.

  • [...] 5 Components to Healthy Eating [...]

  • Great post. The cookies look so good, I just wish I had a decent oven to bake them with. I’m all about the pumpkin right now :)

  • i’d say most of my diet is whole food, where i fall is cereal and bread. (albeit wholegrain, but still.) truth be told, when you’re avoiding oil and dairy, your only choice is to make it yourself. (which is good, of course.)

    happy anniversary, girl!! the first year just FLIES, doesn’t it? :)

  • Jaime

    Hi there! I just found your blog and absolutely love it. I am definitely putting you on Inspirational blog list! Great post!

  • Happy anniversary!!! :) :) :) ja yay for REAL foods!

  • Great post!! I always tell my clients/customers/students (haha, I don’t know what to call them) to look at 3 things on food labels, if that’s all they look at 1) serving size, 2) sugar and 3) ingredient list!! I thin the ingredient list is important because it really does tell you just how “Real” the food is. It also tells you how much of that sugar is form added sugars. I love using the example of the GoLean Kashi bar, which has about 10 different forms of added sugar, scattered throughout. While I can pronounce each ingredient, and know what it is, I still don’t like how LONG the ingredient list is in this food that is supposedly “All NAtural”. Ugh.

    Happy one year anniversary TODAY!!! Your blog ROCKS!

  • This recipe could be dangerous for me! looks so good! =)

  • I’m right there with you–I think this is really the ultimate healthy eating rule, don’t you? We strive every week to make sure our grocery cart is just the fresh stuff, in addition to the pantry staples. I hate to think of what all the processed junk can do to one’s body. Have you read any of Michael Pollan’s books? This rule is essentially the crux of his arguments–only whole foods are real foods!

    Happy Anniversary :)

  • I think its ok to eat processed stuff from time to time. reminds me that im human. have a good weekend!

  • Oh I couldn’t agree more. I hate when I see people eating processed junk that says “low fat” or “no sugar” and they think that means it’s healthy. Then, they don’t get it when I’m ok with homemade scratch cookies, asking me “Wait, I thought you didn’t eat junk food?” It’s not that confusing! Bag all the fake stuff, and eat the real food that your body recognizes and knows what to do with!

    Thanks for the good info!

  • Love this “rule”!! Like you said, REAL food is not only better for us, but it tastes better too! Ever since weaning myself off of artificial cakes (hello Hostess 100 calorie cupcakes!), cookies (hello Snackwells!) and frozen dinners (hello, Lean Cuisine!), I’ve had no desire to go back. Nothing beats something fresh from the oven! (Oh, and I’m taking the liberty to deem white chocolate chips a “real” food.) :-)

    The pumpkin cookie recipe looks delish. I agree with you about baked goods–there’s no substitution for butter, sugar and eggs!

  • Great post. The cookies look so good, I just wish I had a decent oven to bake them with. I’m all about the pumpkin right now :)

  • Aryn

    OMG. these cookies look delicious! i LOVE oats and i LOVE pumpkin. can’t wait to try them out!

    ps – happy anniversary sunday! yay, congrats! :)

    pps – LOVE the new header! i read about it on ashley’s blog from the edible perspective & didn’t realize you guys knew each other, she’s awesome, so are you of course! you two are some of my favorite blogs :)

  • Delicious cookie recipe, and can I say a hearty “Amen” to eating WHOLE foods? It is so important that we begin to shift away from all the heavily processed and packaged foods that are sold in grocery stores, schools and offices around the country. Whole foods not only taste better but they are so much better for our bodies too! Now I’m going to eat an apple and some almonds!

  • I honestly don’t even have 2 sticks of butter in this house. We have like less than a stick that is used rarely. Do you think I could swap it out for canola oil or would that totally ruin the recipe?

  • Ah, the Twinkie. How that thing has a shelf life of 100 years is beyond me;) Great points here!

    Pumpkin oatmeal cookies…when you think you’ve seen it all. I actually think I’d cook these over pumpkin choco chip.

  • I love sneaking white chocolate chips into something… they’re sooooo good! :)

    And I try to eat generally pretty clean. My cereal is the one exception I will not change, though… I heart Special K. :p

  • My husband had on Food Network yesterday, and that disgusting show where the guy eats a ridic amount of food was on…and he was at a carnival where they DEEP FRIED, not one but 3 or 4 twinkies on a stick, coated with flour, fried, and topped with powdered sugar…YUCK!!

    I love this tip..EAT REAL FOOD!!!

    Happy Friday, girlie!!

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